And we’re not stopping here. Additional legislation to follow on Marine Protected Areas will be crucial in ensuring that as we develop, we protect our marine areas and their biodiversity. There is also the ObSERVE programme,
which helps us to plan marine activities and development, without threatening sensitive marine ecosystems. The Programme is jointly funded by my Department, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI). An Irish-led international consortium last month began extensive aerial surveys of almost 500,000km2 of Ireland’s maritime area. The ObSERVE 2 Aerial survey will help build a greater understanding of Ireland’s marine species and the habitats they need to survive and to thrive.